On the horns of a dilemma

by Suw on July 19, 2003

I spoilt myself today – I bought Neil Gaiman’s Coraline in hardback. I wasn’t going to, but there it was, calling out to me from the shelf, and when I flicked it open I saw it was signed. There’s a slight blemish on the dust cover, which is I suppose why it hadn’t already been bought, but I don’t care. Here in my hands I have something which was been in Neil’s (or if you call him by his signature, Nen Suel's) hands too. Call me a sad fan type, but somehow that makes me feel really quite warm and fluffy.

It’s like the feeling I used to get when I was on palaeo field trips, when you crack open that slate to find revealed a tiny trilobite or ammonite and there you are, the first person in quite a few million years to ever see this wee little thing so pretty in its ancient perfection. A silly conceit perhaps, but it amuses me.

I also bought The Screenwriter’s Problem Solver by Syd Field, not because I particularly have any problems with my screenwriting right now, but because I know I will do. It’s inevitable, like death, taxes and the cat throwing up on your best duvet cover shortly before a hot date. (Fflwff actually hasn't thrown up in a long, long time. Any conclusion you draw from those last two sentences is probably entirely correct.)

I’m up to p38 of my script now. I went through and did an edit last night, and ended up with a page more instead of pages less. Oops. Surprisingly, though, the thing reads a lot better than I had expected – I seem not to be writing the unadulterated drivel that I was assuming I was writing. Unfortunately, I have only two more pages to go before the software conks out at its 40 page limit. Maybe I should put a tip jar up on this site and encourage you all to give me a dollar. When I get to 186 of them, I can buy Final Draft and my script formatting problems will be over forever.

So now I find myself on the horns of a dilemma. Do I read Coraline and bathe myself in the warm glow of Gaiman’s beautiful prose? Do I read all about how to recognise and fix problems with my screenplay? (Although I still have the three books about screenwriting that I borrowed from the library to read before 2 Aug.) Or do I think ?sod the books? and continue actually writing?

Hm, maybe I’ll just sit down with a Coke and the Thornton’s Champagne Truffles I treated myself to and consider the situation for a moment or two before deciding.

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